The Doha Round of WTO trade negotiations commenced in 2001. This Round, also known as the Doha Development Round, aims to reduce trade barriers and assist developing countries through trade liberalization.
Currently, negotiations are taking place in negotiating groups and regular bodies, on:
- Market access;
- WTO rules (anti-dumping, subsidies, regional trade agreements);
- Agriculture: in special sessions of the Agriculture Committee;
- Services: in special sessions of the Council for Trade in Services;
- Geographical indications (a multilateral registration system): in special sessions of the Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. Other TRIPS issues are addressed in regular TRIPS Council meetings;
- Dispute Settlement Understanding: in special sessions of the Dispute Settlement Body;
- Environment: in special sessions of the Trade and Environment Committee; and
- Negotiations on outstanding implementation issues: in relevant bodies according to paragraph 12 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration.
Considerable emphasis is placed on special and differential treatment (S&DT) for developing countries. The principle of S&DT is an integral part of the WTO agreements. All negotiations and other aspects of the DDA work programme are to fully incorporate this principle. According to the Doha Declaration (paragraph 44) and the Decision on Implementation-Related Issues and Concerns, all S&DT provisions are to be reviewed to make them more precise, effective and operational. These reviews are carried out in special sessions of the Trade and Development Committee.